When the Giants brought veteran left-hander Tony Watson back in the minutes before the MLB trade deadline last month, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi cited Watson's success in previous weeks and increased velocity, but also the fact that he is a perfect fit in this clubhouse.
Watson was a very popular Giant during his initial three-year run and became a clubhouse leader, particularly in the bullpen. It's easy to see why when you listen to Duane Kuiper talk about his interactions with Watson.
On Thursday's Giants Talk Podcast, Kuiper shared a cool story about Watson reaching out to see if he could come visit Kuiper, who was back in the broadcast booth over the weekend. Kuiper got a call on Sunday morning from Giants VP of media relations Matt Chisholm.
"He said he wants to see how you're doing and he wants to look you in the eye when he asks you how you're doing," Kuiper said. "So we figured that at some point he would pop up (to the booth). I decided to walk on the field that day on Sunday."
With no batting practice or crowded areas before a day game, Kuiper took a stroll on the field and ended up seeing Watson as he was walking by of the dugout. He said he has always enjoyed chatting with Watson, a fellow Midwesterner. Kuiper is from Wisconsin and Watson grew up in Iowa.
"It warmed my heart that he wanted to make this effort to see me in person and I got a chance to talk to him for 10 minutes," Kuiper said. "He said, 'Am I allowed to hug you with these (MLB) tiers and I go, 'Yeah, I think we can do that' .... We had a nice chat, a nice hug, and off we went. He's a solid guy and I'm so glad he's back."
The Giants are, too. Watson is a great person to have in a clubhouse, but he has been a life-saver this month for a bullpen that's been overworked. Watson has made nine scoreless appearances since the trade, allowing just three of 30 batters to reach base.
Kuiper has enjoyed watching it and he was thrilled to see Watson in-person, continuing what has been a trend since he first had to step away.
"When I was first diagnosed and first made the announcement of what was going on, I literally heard from almost the entire roster and coaches," Kuiper said. "For me, it took my breath away."